14 New Diabetes Markers
The possibility of developing new methods for treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes has emerged from a German study that identified 14 novel biomarkers for the disease.The research team, led by Anna Floegel of the German Institute of Human Nutrition and Tobias Pischon of the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, believes these markers can also be used to determine diabetes risk very early, according to a joint press release form the institutions.
The scientists were involved in "metabolomics," a young research field that seeks an understanding of biological systems by studying the dynamic network of metabolites of an organism. Metabolites have diverse functions such as playing a role in cellular communication and regulation, transporting energy, and serving as building material for the cells. Changes in metabolite concentrations may therefore directly reflect alterations in metabolism and thereby shed light on the pathogenesis or presence of disease.
The release quotes Floegel as saying, "In addition to simple sugars, the 14 identified metabolites include various protein components and choline-containing phospholipids which play a role in the structure of cell membranes and in the transport of blood lipids. Our findings particularly indicate a previously unknown role of phospholipids in type 2 diabetes development. This is a first clue which should definitely be pursued."
Her co-author, Pischon, added, "At the same time the metabolites can also be used as biomarkers to precisely determine the risk of diabetes at a very early stage, since the study is based on prospective data, that is data that were collected before the onset of the disease. The results of the new metabolomic analysis thus provide a good basis for developing new treatment and prevention methods."